OTTAWA (April 30, 2020) –

The CAZA Accreditation Commission’s principal purpose is to create and maintain Canadian standards that reflect the current best practices. Therefore, a regular review of existing standards is essential. During this time of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, it is more important.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the CAZA board of directors to delay scheduled 2020 accreditations and attestations. In their place a monthly survey is conducted, its purpose is to gather information on COVID-19 effects on animal care and business operations. On a practical level, these decisions necessitated the extension of expiry dates by one year. Given the level of uncertainty created by Covid-19, at its’ May 6th meeting the CAZA board of directors will examine possible changes to the accreditation schedule.

Covid-19 also presents an opportunity to not only examine existing protocols, a chance for CAZA Accreditation Commission to review the standards and how they hold up to a pandemic. This is exactly the Commission’s work plan for 2020 is. What lessons have we learned from our experiences? and how do we ensure our members are as prepared as possible for future disasters such as this?  How do we best protect our staff, our animals and our organizations?

The way forward will involve the participation of stakeholders who may have not participated in the past, or who have not been asked. We will broaden our reach to, for example, include input from provincial regulators. We need to open our standards to governments to whom we want to recognize.

While no one can predict exactly when this crisis will end, we know that at some point it will.  When that happens, CAZA will continue to have the best standards possible, as we continue to safeguard the care of the animals in our care and the people with the animals and the 12+ million visitors we welcome each year.

Serge Lussier
Chair, CAZA Accreditation Commission

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